Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

By Giang Huy, Hoang Phuong, Toan Dao   April 16, 2016 | 03:59 pm GMT+7
Millions of Vietnamese are heading for Hung Temple in the northern province of Phu Tho, more than 100 km away from Hanoi, to honor Hung Kings, the founders of the Vietnamese nation. Many old men of nearly 80 years of age are still excited to climb more than 500 steps to worship in a temple on top of a mountain.
Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

People from across the country arrive in Phu Tho on Friday, a day before the death anniversary of the Hung Kings.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

An estimated seven million pilgrims will attend the festival this year, including 5.5 million who arrived before April 16 and 1.5 million on Saturday, according to the festival’s organizing committee.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

Phung Quang Ngoc and family from Central Vietnam arrive in Phu Tho on Friday morning. The family’s been doing the pilgrimage for several years so they had prepared water food and a sedge mat ahead of the hard journey.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

A young couple from Tuyen Quang mountainous province in the north rests after visiting the temples. “We will leave for home this afternoon as we are afraid we won’t be able to bear the crowd tomorrow,” the husband said.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

People climb more than 500 steps from Nghia Linh mountain base to worship in the higher temples. The complex comprises of Hung King Mausoleum, temples of Ha (lower), Trung (middle), Thuong (upper) and Gieng (well). It is said that the eldest son of Lac Long Quan and Au Co founded Van Lang, the first name of Vietnam, and adopted Hung King as his name of a reign’s year. In the legend, Lac Long Quan and Au Co are said to give birth to Vietnamese people.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

Pilgrims praying in Trung Temple. It is believed Hung Kings had breaks and discussed work matters with their officials there. It is also believed to be the place where prince Lang Lieu, the son of the sixth Hung King, offered square cake (Chung cake) and round sticky rice cake (Day cake) to the King. These are two famous traditional Vietnamese cakes.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

People praying in Thuong Temple located on the top of Hung mountain. It is believed Hung Kings held ceremonies at the temple to worship the heaven, the land, the gods of mountain and rice.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

Pilgrims looking at the back of the temple and praying; it is said to be the most holy place in the temple.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

A woman carrying her offerings from the mountain base to the temple.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

Hoang Thi Hanh, from Thai Binh northern province, is still happy after climbing more than 500 steps to Thuong Temple. “It is the third year I have visited Hung Temple. It is my honor to worship Hung Kings today,” she said.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

It is believed Au Co used water from this well to bathe her children. In 2002, scientists discovered at the bottom of the well items dated several centuries ago, from Ly, Tran, Le and Nguyen dynasties.

Millions gather at Hung Temple to honor Vietnam’s founding Kings

It costs nearly $1 to hire a sedge mat for an hour. The death anniversary of the Hung Kings began with a worship ceremony held at 7 a.m. on Saturday. This year the same ceremony was held simultaneously at several locations nationwide where there are temples to honor Hung Kings and their officials. “This practice is new. It is expected that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will allow all the locations in the country to hold it from 2017, said Nguyen Thi Tuyet Chinh, Deputy Director of Phu Tho Information and Communications Department. 

Every year, Vietnamese commemorate the death anniversary of the Hung Kings in the Hung Kings Temple Festival on the tenth day of the third month of the lunar calendar (Saturday, April 16 this year) to honor the kings. They are believed to have made great contributions in forming the nation from its very start.

 
 
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